POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 30, 2011
Hawaii stayed poolside to hire its new water polo coach, announcing Friday that assistant Maureen (Flanagan) Cole would replace her former boss. Forty people applied for the position.
Michel Roy's contract was not renewed after this season, with UH athletic director Jim Donovan saying "other issues" outside of winning and losing were the cause. Roy had taken the Rainbow Wahine to three final fours since coming from the Canadian national program in 2003. Cole was his assistant the past five years.
She is now the fourth coach in the program's 13-year history.
"I am very excited and deeply honored to take the lead of this great program," she said in a release. "I look forward to working with the athletes, the departmental staff and the community in continuing the winning tradition of Rainbow Wahine water polo."
In the past five years, UH has never been lower than sixth in the final national rankings, with 15 All-America honors. Cole, a 1999 Punahou graduate, was an All-American at UCLA and won three NCAA titles. The four-time Academic All-American was the next-to-last cut for the 2004 Olympic team.
UH associate AD Marilyn Moniz-Kaho‘ohanohano said she expects Cole to continue the program's success and diversify the recruiting. This year's final roster had no players from Hawaii. Moniz added that the team's move from the country's finest conference — Mountain Pacific Sports Federation — to the Big West in 2012-13 should help Cole in recruiting in California.
"Because the program plays the best teams and is at the highest level we have very high expectations," Moniz-Kaho‘ohanohano said. "She needs to continue the recruiting we've been doing and diversify our recruiting to make sure we continue to have high-level, elite water polo players. With her contacts and background, I believe she can."
Cole started her coaching career with the Hawaiian Islands Water Polo Club and has coached many of the state's top high school players the past 12 years. She was an undergraduate assistant for UCLA during its unbeaten 2005 season and graduated that year, earning a bachelor's degree in business/economics.
Hawaii lost six seniors off this year's team. All-American Monika Eggens, the MPSF's leading scorer as a junior, is expected to play a primary role on Canada's Olympic team. That would require her to miss the upcoming season.